EXPLORING SCOTLAND'S CASTLES

I’ve been living in Aberdeen for over eight years now and always loved the city life but also the countryside that is right on our doorstep.

I’m a country girl at heart so spending some time in Scotland’s wilderness if often important when it comes to weekend plans. We’re lucky enough to have Royal Deeside and its many attractions close by alongside rolling hills and forest walks so this spring and summer I’ve decided to make the very most of it.

For the past few weeks I’ve been planning how to see as much of Scotland’s scenery as possible. As a hidden history buff this brings a lot of excitement – so much of the country is steeped in history and heritage. From ruined castles and bloody battlefields I’ve quickly found that you don’t have to look hard to transport yourself back to Scotland’s intriguing past.

Dunnottar Castle

Sites close to home were first on my list and I couldn’t think of anywhere better to start than Dunnottar Castle near Stonehaven.

It was a very windy Saturday when we visited the castle which sits on top of a rugged cliff overlooking the North Sea.

What remains of the castle may not be grand halls and decorated bed chambers but it’s still easy to get lost in the ruins and the stories that they tell.

With many visitors including William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots as well as a small garrison held out against the might of Cromwell’s army for months to save the Scottish Crown Jewels, there’s plenty to learn from this unique place.

Fyvie Castle

Just one day after our visit to Dunnottar Castle we decided to move inland towards Fyvie Castle near Turriff in Aberdeenshire.

Taking the scenic route we drove for miles winding through country roads before arriving at the castle.

The driveway of the castle is impressive in itself but the building’s Scottish Baronial architecture is something else. The towers of the castle are home to an extensive portrait collection and many complete rooms which tell the tales of the five successive families that have owned the castle and brought inside their traditions.

The castle’s Victorian tearoom is something not to be missed so make sure one of the helpful guides point you in the right direction for tea and home-baked cakes.

Doune Castle

I’ve been a Game of Thrones fan for a few years now so an opportunity to visit Winterfell, aka Doune Castle, wasn’t going to be missed.

More recently I’ve been catching up on the popular Outlander series and with Doune Castle playing its part at Castle Leoch, I was particularly excited to visit this attraction close to Stirling.

We were on our way to visit family in Glasgow and stopped off in the village of Doune for some lunch before heading towards the castle. We came across Buttercup Café which offers an amazing menu as well as small interior design shop, Doune Chic, where I picked up some pieces for our newly decorated lounge.

The castle didn’t disappoint and the audio tour provides the perfect description to finding out more about the history of the area and its residents. If you’re an Outlander fan make sure you don’t miss the descriptions narrated by Jamie Fraser himself.

Look out for more Scottish adventures on Jules and the Crown this summer…